By Williams Gondwa:
Soccer commentators have faulted Malawi national football team’s defensive approach for the 0-1 loss to Zambia in a 2019 under-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Wednesday.
Malawi deployed a 4-4-2 formation with attacking midfielder Peter Banda playing off main striker Hassan Kajoke while the Zambians opted for a 4-3-3 system.
The junior Flames need to win 2-0 in the Lusaka return match to progress to the next stage.
Former Flames defence pillar, Clement Kafwafwa, said Malawi should not have deployed a defensive system as if they were playing away.
“It is not normal to play defensively when you are at home. You usually go flat out attacking your opponents from all angles. Zambia came with a different approach especially in the first-half and they used another system in the second. They wanted to score so that they could settle down. They did it and won the match.Advertisement
“And for us to get a goal in Zambia, we need to change our formation. The coaches should use a 4-3-3 system to give our players the chance to attack. Our coaches could have also done better on fielding and substitutions. But, all in all, let us encourage the boys to work hard. They can make it in Lusaka,” Kafwafwa said.
Former Civo United defender, Willy Cham’bwinja, concurred with Kafwafwa, saying Coach Meke Mwase should improve on fielding.
Cham’bwinja said the team’s defence did a better job as compared to the other departments.
“Deploying a defensive system at home is counterproductive. We made mistakes and lost the match but let us plan ahead as we still have a chance to progress.
“We need to go flat out in Lusaka because we have nothing to lose. After all, the Zambians will be under pressure to keep a clean sheet,” he said.
But Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve Coach, Enos Chatama, disagreed with Kafwafwa and Cham’bwinja, saying formations do not win matches.
“We have seen teams using lone strikers and winning with seven goals, and we have seen others using 4-3-3 but ending up on the losing side. We lost to Zambia because they were better than us.
“They were first on the ball, and physically, they were up there. So, as we are going to Lusaka, we should improve on closing down the spaces. We were giving them too much room,” Chatama said.
Malawi’s junior teams usually struggle to win matches at home but perform better in away games
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